How to Sew Pouches to Organize Your Lifecomments (15) December 28th, 2012
I'm usually at a loss for what to get my stepfather as a gift; he's the kind of guy who pretty much has everything he wants. I asked my mom if she had any ideas, and after a few minutes of thought she came up with something. He's diabetic, which means he has a few emergency supplies he needs to carry around at all times, but he didn't have anything to keep them in. So, my mom figured I could make him a pouch to keep everything together and that he could easily toss into his briefcase or gym bag. Perfect! Especially since I was making my mom and sister lined, pocketed tote bags, and my nieces simple totes with their initials appliquéd on; this totally fit with the theme.
As I made the first pouch, I started to think of all the different ways I could make it and all the uses I could find for them. My head was spinning with the possibilities! You can easily customize them to suit any use. It also occurred to me that pouches make fantastic gift wrapping and then can be used afterwards.
Now that the gifting is over, I'm on to New Year's resolutions, and my big one for this year is to Get Organized. I know, it's not very original, but I'm moving out of my cluttered apartment on New Year's Eve, and I want to start fresh on the other side with a new, simplified life. Hey, a girl can dream, right? So I started seeing all the ways pouches can help me get (and STAY) organized. For example, I teach a lot of different project-based classes, and it's essential that I bring all the necessary supplies with me. If I had pouches for every class, the supplies could just live in them always and be all together for me to grab on my way to teach.
Through making a few different styles, I figured out a very simple way to go about pouch-making that can yield a variety of styles. I'll show you how to do three variations: a flap, an overlap, and a zipper pouch, all made from one rectangle of fabric. Grab yourself some scraps and let's go!
1. Cut out the pouch piece. Basically, all you need is one rectangle to make a pouch. If you are making it to house a specific item, the length of the rectangle should be twice the length of the item, plus twice the item's depth if it has any (like, say, a camera, or books, or spools of thread) plus at least an inch or two extra for ease, plus one inch for seam allowance. That's for the basic zipper pouch. The overlap style needs the additional length of however much you want to overlap, and the flap style needs twice the flap length added in. The width of the rectangle can just be the width of the item, plus an inch or two for ease, plus an inch for seam allowance. Easy!
2. Hem the short sides. Finish both edges with a 1/4-inch double-turned hem.
3. Sew the side seams. Use the item you plan to keep in the pouch to help you figure out how best to fold it for stitching.
Crease where you fold, and then flip the pouch inside out, so that the right sides are facing each other, and pin. Sew using 1/2-inch seam allowances. For the zipper pouch, you should first seam each of the hemmed edges to one side of the zipper, using your zipper foot, then fold the pouch and stitch the side seams right over the zipper.
The overlap pouch will be sewn through all layers at once; just check that the side you want on top when it's finished is underneath when you're sewing it (because it's inside out).
The flap pouch gets sewn separately for the pocket part and the flap. The two hemmed edges should almost meet, but leave about 1/8 inch between them.
4. For the flap pouch, the final step is to turn it right side out and stitch across the base of the flap to close the opening.
Then edgestitch around the entire flap. To keep it closed, you can sew some hook-and-loop tape or a snap underneath the flap, or make a buttonhole and add a cute vintage button. For the overlap and zip styles, just turn 'em out-they're already done!
I'm already addicted to making these, and I'm certain they're going to change my life. Now I'll have "a place for everything," which has always been (at least part of) my problem. How are you going to use yours?
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